Oman’s goal of building the biggest oil-storage facility in the Middle East is finally progressing, more than seven years after the sultanate announced the plan.
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Oman Tank Terminal Co. has almost finished constructing eight tanks to store crude for a new refinery near the town of Duqm on the Arabian Sea. It’s now pushing ahead with others that could be used by oil companies and traders.
That would eventually increase Duqm’s capacity to at least 25 million barrels, according to OTTCO’s website.
The Ras Markaz Crude Oil Park could provide an alternative for energy traders and exporters eager to avoid the Strait of Hormuz, a choke-point that’s seen numerous flareups in recent years, including Iranian seizures of tankers. The Omani facility lies roughly 966 kilometers from the waterway.
“Crude storage that anybody can use outside the Strait of Hormuz, that can go either east or west, is probably a good thing,” said Alan Gelder, vice-president for refining, chemicals and oil markets at consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. Iraq and Kuwait, a co-investor in the refinery, might see Duqm as an attractive place to park their crude outside the Gulf, he said.
Oil storage shot to prominence in March and April when coronavirus lockdowns caused demand for energy to collapse. Traders and producers struggled to find enough space for their unwanted crude, with many turning tankers into makeshift, floating warehouses to absorb the unprecedented glut.
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